Google+ Reading Teen: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood: Book & Audiobook Review

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood: Book & Audiobook Review

Born Wicked
Author:  Jessica Spotswood
Series:  The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
"Blessed with a gift..."cursed" with a secret."
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood - not even from each other.

Audio CD
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks (February 2012)
Reader: Nicole Sudhaus
Buy the audio: Audible
If you are looking for a new audiobook, and you're a fan of historical paranormal fiction, or witches, this is the audiobook for you!  Nicole Sudhaus was fantastic!  She sounded like she could be a teenager, which I really like for YA audiobooks.  Her voice was really pleasant to listen to, and I think she was perfect for Cate.  Her voices weren't as distinct as other readers that I've listened to, but still differed enough to tell the difference between characters.  She did a great job with the male voices as well.  I really don't have any complaints!  I started this book three days ago, and listened at every opportunity.  I definitely recommend it!

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (February 7, 2012)
Buy the book:  Amazon
At a Glance:

Born Wicked is a fantastic paranormal YA set in an alternate history.  There's magic and romance and mystery and betrayal.  I really enjoyed reading about these three witchy sisters and can't wait to find out what happens next.


I had absolutely no idea what this book was about, or what to expect when I started it.  I had a vague idea that it involved witches, but really that's all I knew.

I really liked it a lot.  I love good historical paranormals and this was fantastic.  It really reminded me a lot of Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series, though I actually liked it better (and I certainly hope it ends better....gah!) 

The story is set in an alternate historical time period in New England where the religious Brotherhood dictates practically everything that the community does, down to what they read and who they marry.  To be a witch in this age means jail, commitment to a mental institution, or possibly death.

I loved the setting of Born Wicked.  I felt like I could picture the small New England town, set in this alternate history, and could especially picture the Cahill's home and gardens.  At times I felt like it was Pride and Prejudice or Little Women, mixed with a little Practical Magic.  I just really enjoyed the feel of the book.

Although there were times that I got frustrated with Cate, I still really liked her a lot, and felt like I could relate to her.  She was a girl who was a free spirit at heart, but who was held back by the responsibility of having to protect and care for her two younger sisters.  I feel like her character grew throughout the book, which I appreciated, and she always put others before herself, no matter the personal cost to her.

There is a love triangle in this book, which I know puts some people off, but I thought it was very well done.  Both Paul and Finn seem to be great guys who really care about Cate.  I really wanted to dislike Paul, knowing that Finn was going to be the one who Cate fell for, but in the end, he was a really sweet guy, and I think he would be good for her too.  Actually, as far as physicality goes, Paul is probably the better looking one.  But Finn.  It's impossible to not fall for him.  It's funny because he probably isn't the type that I'd fall for in real life, but I just adored him for Cate.  At first he seems quite, but he is fiercely protective and would do anything for Cate.

The book ends on a serious cliffhanger, which isn't my favorite thing.  I like there to be more resolution in each book, but I definitely like this one enough to continue the series, so that makes it more bearable (though, now I have to wait).  If you are a fan of historical fiction (with some paranormal witchiness thrown in there) then you should definitely give this one a try!  I recommend it on audio!

Book Doppelgangers:

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell, The Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray

Will I buy it?

Have you seen that cover?  I must own it!
  • Profanity:  Minor
  • Sexual Content:  Mild/Moderate
  • Violence:  Minor
  • Other Notables:  Magic, Religious Dictators
For more details, check out Born Wicked on


  1. Great review! I just started this book today. I have been really looking forward to it, and your review makes me confident that I will love it.

  2. This looks amazing. I've been on the fence about picking it up because I haven't heard much about it either. After you compared it to the Gemma Doyle trilogy, I'm in. Ordering now...
    Thanks for a great review. =)

    1. I hope you like it! It really did have a Gemma Doyle feeling to it, I think!

  3. I'm really excited for this one. :) Thanks for such a great review, and I do appreciate the content breakdown you add at the bottom. :)

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  4. I'm crazy to read it and happy to know you've liked it! =)

    1. Awesome! I hope you like it too! Let me know if you end up reading it and what you thought!

  5. What a lush cover on this one. It looks interesting. Re Triangles in Love stories: It is a common device for having a conflict which is necessary to have a story. Without conflict there is no story. There is always a triangle of some sort--sometimes it's another person, sometimes it is a disease, or distance or religion. No one wants to read a love story where the happily ever after starts at the beginning.

    1. I agree! And I have no personal problem with love triangles, I just know some people hate them. Unfortunately, I always end up liking the guy she doesn't pick. :P

  6. I was most happy that the Born Wicked paperback came with a teaser for the next book in the series, Star Cursed, but now I wish I had some magic so I could get my hands on that book!


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